Boston College offered use of its currently unused residence halls to the City of Boston during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the city turned down the University’s offer, according to Associate Vice President of University Communications Jack Dunn.
Dunn said in an email to The Heights that Boston turned down BC’s offer at the moment, opting to utilize dorms at colleges closer to the city’s hospitals, but noted that the city may accept the offer in the future if the COVID-19 outbreak in Boston worsens.
The Press Office of Boston Mayor Marty J. Walsh, BC ’09, confirmed in an email to The Heights that BC offered use of its residence halls to the city but did not answer questions about why the request was rejected or if the city has plans to accept BC’s offer in the future.
BC closed its residence halls and moved classes online in response to the COVID-19 outbreak on March 11, and students were able to apply for housing extensions on a case-by-case basis.
Students granted the extensions were moved to single dorms on Upper Campus, which the University said was done for social distancing purposes. Of the 500 students who initially remained on campus, 291 students remained as of Wednesday, according to a post on BC’s Coronavirus Updates page.
The University has one student in isolation for COVID-19 on campus, and no students are in quarantine, according to the page.
Massachusetts has reported more than 30,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to a state update on Thursday. Middlesex County, where BC is located, has been hit the hardest— with over 7,000 cases of the disease. Suffolk County, which includes Boston, has reported 6,820 confirmed cases in the update.
Other colleges and universities have offered use of their residence halls to house health workers who are quarantining from their families or to help with hospital overflow related to the pandemic, including Middlebury College and New York University. Tufts University President Anthony P. Monaco published an op-ed on March 18 in The Boston Globe urging colleges and universities to “take a leadership role in relieving the unprecedented stress of COVID-19 on our health care system.”
“We urgently need the capacity to isolate potential cases away from their families soon after diagnosis in order to slow the spread and protect families and communities,” Monaco wrote. “Colleges and universities must step up and partner with local and state authorities to aid in the fight against COVID-19. And they must make plans to do so now.”